Dollar to Naira News

Forex crisis: Operators lament as imported containers drop – Punch

By Anozie Egole

Licensed Customs agents have blamed the forex crisis in the country for the 2.39 percent drop in container throughput in the first quarter of 2024.

A document exclusively obtained by The PUNCH from the Nigerian Ports Authority showed a 2.39 percent drop in container throughput for twenty-foot equipment units in the first quarter of 2024.

According to the NPA, the total container throughput for Q1 2024 was 396,083, down from 405,811 in the same period last year.

The NPA also noted that export containers for Q1 2023 totalled 150,926, while 254,884 laden containers were received in the country during the same period.

In Q1 2024, there were 112,801 empty containers recorded, and 283,281 loaded containers were processed.

Despite the drop in container throughput, The PUNCH observed that cargo throughput in the period under review was higher compared to the same period in 2023.

“In 2024, we recorded 20,105,390 as cargo throughput, while in 2023, we recorded 17,476,212,” the NPA reported.

Reacting to that, the Importers Association of Nigeria blamed the forex crisis for the drop in container throughput, adding that the country was losing over $500m annually due to inconsistent exchange rates.

The National Coordinator of Customs, Shipping, and Terminal Operations of the association, Dr Basil Nwaolisa, lamented in a recent interview with The PUNCH that the cost of clearing consignments at the port had increased by 300 per cent in one year.

“The country is losing more than $500m annually. A year ago, clearing a cargo might cost N5m, but now the same consignment costs N20m or more. This is a big problem. If an importer’s worth is about N15m, can they import a container now? Demurrage is a significant issue at N60,000 per container per month,” Nwaolisa said.

He emphasized that the forex issues were a major burden on importers, with 60 per cent of their members ceasing importation.

The National President of the National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents, Mr Lucky Amiwero, also noted that markets were nearly empty as importation had decreased.

“The forex issue has affected buyers. When you go to the market now, you will find many items that are no longer available. Importers have stopped importing due to the fluctuating naira.

“Many people do not have the funds to purchase foreign exchange because the price is high and the market is unstable. Most potential importers are waiting to see if the situation improves.

“Previously, $500,000 could secure several containers, but that amount no longer holds the same value. Many people have left the industry for menial jobs due to the inconsistent exchange rate,” Amiwero added.

See Dollar to Naira black market today, Pound to Naira, Euro to Naira, Dollar to Naira CBN rate and Dollar to Naira Bank rate today.

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